September 16, 2022
Kevin Schulman, Founder, DonorVoice and DVCanvass
I’m a dog person. I have two dogs and my children and wife only semi-kiddingly suggest the dogs are my top priority. They always agree with me and never complain, what’s not to like?
Turns out my dog choice is a reflection of my personality. Neurotic people have neurotic dogs (plot on left) and extraverted people have more outgoing dogs. The other traits show a similar pattern.
And while the chicken and egg of all this is hard to parse out, three interesting, sub-findings argue there is some cause and effect going on here.
- The dog personality rating was done by the owner but also independently by a person who knew the dog but wasn’t the owner. The correlations still hold.
- Maybe everyone who knows the dog (and the owner by extension) is projecting the owner personality onto the dog? Why then doesn’t it hold for the 2nd dog in those households?
- There is no relationship between length of ownership and the dog/owner personality match. One could imagine owners and those who know the dogs being more likely to rate the two as the same if they’ve been together longer but that isn’t the case.
In separate dog and owner personality research there is a match between breed and owner personality. Tiny, toy (e.g. chihuahua) are more likely to be owned by people high in Openness. Lab owners? They’re high in Agreeableness, just like the stereotype for the breed.
What about hunting breeds? Yep, you guessed it, people higher in Conscientiousness who are more ideologically conservative and more likely to live in non-urban settings.
Imagine something so powerful it determines, in part, whether we marry, who we marry, whether we have kids, our profession, our interest in nature and art, musical taste, job performance, mental health, volunteer behavior, grade point average, dog or cat owner and yes, type of dog?
What are the chances Personality doesn’t play a role in the decision to support your charity?
Now imagine you can tag your house file and put every donor into a Personality bucket and have a crib sheet on words to use, images to use and examples of a facebook ad and letter for each trait?
What would prevent you from doing this? This last question isn’t intended to be rhetorical, we are genuinely interested in what barriers our readers think stand in the way of a trial.
Your thoughts please